Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The owners of the most surprising 5-4 record in the league with the "easy" part of their schedule coming up, the Jets were in a position where they could do no wrong. They were playing with house money, winning games in a season that was supposed to be filled with growing pains and losing.
However, with the playoffs in their crosshairs, Rex Ryan and the Jets began to lose sight of where they were as a team. Rather than continue their unlikely push with their young collection of talent, the Jets viewed themselves as contenders—which led to their signing of Houston Texans castoff Ed Reed.
Reed will stroll into the Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible, but the 2013 version of Reed hardly resembles the one that struck so much terror into opposing quarterbacks. Having not recorded an interception (or a win) all season, even the struggling Texans had no use for Reed.
Paralyzed by nostalgia, Ryan and the Jets succumbed to their guilty pleasure and brought in Reed—the results were predictable.
Reed was responsible for far more touchdowns than he saved, and his presence kept the rising star in Antonio Allen off the field. The Jets were giving up at least as many big plays as before, except this time, they were not even developing young talent in the process.
It would be silly to blame Reed for the Jets' collapse in the second half of the season, but it is hardly a coincidence that the Jets defense got progressively worse after he was forced into the starting lineup.